Look to the Stars
by Alice Isom Gubler Stratton

Chapter 71

735735 HAPPY NEW YEAR! Ermal arose with the spirit of celebrating, resolved to watch the Cotton Bowl and the Rose Bowl parade on TV. And I resolved not to be sidetracked, no matter how many times he called, "Hey, hon, come look at this float," because every time I rush to his summons, he says, "Oh, you're too late."

The year begins on Saturday, so I determined to give the place a quick slickup, because Ruby and Roland are calling for us at ten. We have a date with them.

Well, my poor spouse! He has flipped the TV on and off with much lamenting and murmuring. "There's nothing but school bands, and all that yacking and chit chat between the announcers." Between the flipping the switch on and off he has paced the floor. He might as well have had a dust cloth in his hands while he paced around. Finally the Rose Parade really began and he settled down to his constant calling, "Hon, this is a pretty one, come see." Or, "Hon, you gotta see this one." I gratified him by sticking my head in once in a while. But I just barely got the place slicked up when the Webbs called for us.

We headed for Mesquite to have dinner at the Western Village. roland stopped at the hospital in St. George, and I ran to see Marilyn. She was 100% better. I was happy to see that she was her old smiley self.

At Beaver Dam we turned off the road and went up a little draw to where Harold Blackmore and his two wives Gwen and Florence were working on their underground house. The wives hugged all four of us, although I'd never seen them before. They made me feel like I was a dear old relative, and Harold gave us a big, hearty handshake.

The underground house is really on top of the ground, but built back against a hillside, with dirt scraped up on two sides and partly on top. Gwen and Florence were full of talk, witty and lively as crickets. Gwen gave us each a bag of fresh, raw peanuts. I think I never stopped chuckling while we were there.

Western Village was full of people who heaped too much food on their plates because they could get all they could eat for $3.49. We saw many folks from home.

On our way home we toured Bloomington and Santa Clara Heights. This, that was a barren desert so short a time ago, is newly landscaped and occupied with many elegant homes.

The first fast Sunday of the year. I made some New Year's resolutions. One of them was not to be such a weakling when it comes to fasting. I'll confess, that in all of my 72 years, I've secretly not hailed fast day with oy. I'd get gaunt just thinking about it. We're supposed to fast with a purpose, so today, I fasted and prayed that I'd enjoy fasting. And I really did.

We went to the hospital with Donworth. When we got there, Marilyn was visiting in Harriet's room. Harriet has pneumonia. Marilyn will be released tomorrow.

736736 My new visiting teacher partner, Ora Morrill and I got the new year started out right. Our visiting teaching is done. Our families are Pearl Allen, Betty Owens, and Anna Mae Halterman. Ermal went to the hospital and brought Marilyn home while we were out.

This afternoon, my teachers came. They are Pam Lind and Joy Gubler.

John brought Clayton with him to our house tonight and showed us his slides of Uruguay. It makes me appreciate our living conditions. But John says those people are happy with their life style.

Marilyn and I visited until midnight.

Chance made a hydraulic wood-splitter for DeMar. I watched as he split big saw logs as easily as if they were chips. Chance is very resourceful. He can create anything that can be done in welding and mechanics.

DeMar's little baby, Crystal Lynn stood fascinated watching the splitter. Hwerever DeMar is, Crystal wants to be. And DeMar is flattered by her devotion. He adores her. She runs into his arms every time he comes home.

Having Marilyn with us is a joy. Tonight John, Kelly, Clayton, Mimsi, Helen and DeMar came to see Kathy's slides and to her her Christmas tape.

Leon says, "I just love Aunt Marilyn, because she's interested in everything I'm interested in." He brought a magazine advertising fancy chickens to show her. They decied to go into business together. She will order the baby chicks, and Leon will raise them out for half.

Leon has 30 baby chicks in their furnace room now that he hatched out from 30 eggs.

Convalescing is taxing Marilyn's patience. She wants to be up and doing, but doesn't have the vitality. "I want to make an apricot cobbler," she said.

So Ermal, Marilyn, and I made a united-effort-apricot-cobbler. Marilyn wrote down the recipe, and supervised and measured. I gathered the material around her, heated the oven, and greased the pans. Ermal stirred the batter and licked the bowl. We made two cobblers, because Marilyn wanted to give one to Uncle Ovando.

Shirley and Lolene and their little ones had dinner with us. Later DeMar and Helen joined us.

This evening, while Ermal went with Horatio to a priesthood session in the temple, Marilyn and I took the cobbler to Edna and Ovando. There was hugging and laughing.

Chance too Marilyn home today. Our place seems empty.

My Holy Ghost story was returned from The Friend with suggest alterations.

We bought our new scriptures today, and we're all excited about them. I re-wrote my story and returned it to the Friend. I like this version more than the original one.

LaPriel and Jim returned from their month long vacation in Hawaii. There's a volcano going on over there that has been spewing lava for days. 737737 In November, the islands had a devastating hurricane and tidal waves. Jim's and LaPriel's vacation was sandwiched in between.

LeGrand Richards, our beloved apostle, died today. He was almost 97.

Ermal and I went to town board meeting tonight to see if any relief was coming from the cloud of dust that hangs over our town. I have to hose off the Rambler each time, before I drive it. Dust is so bad, that if I don't hose off the car, within five days it begins to slide in şheets down the glass. Thera'es no need for a blade of grass, or a green leaf to grow, or a flower to bloom under this pall.

At the meeting, they told us that eventually the roads would be fixed. How eventually, they do not know.

Paulette was our little girl until time for the noon bus. I wanted desperately to write. It seems like something comes up every day so I can't. So I left Paulette in front of TV and came to my room.

My conscience said, "Shame on you. It's seldom that you have a little granddaughter with you. What's an hour and a halfin terms of eternity? Don't leave her in front of TV."

I approached her. "Paulette, which would you rather do, go for a walk or watch TV?"

"Watch TV." She never took her eyes off from it.

I returned to my typewriter. Then Paulette shouted, "It'soff!" So was my typewriter. The power was off. So we went for a walk,

We went above the canal, along the hillside to the tunnel, then down the road past Devar Gubler's. DeVar's big black dog joined us. He was feeling foxy. He'd growl and scratch up the earth, then trot ahead a bit and do it again. At Gaye Lynn's, little dogs met us and tumbled with the big black dog.

"Go home, Herm, this isn't your territory," Gaye Lynne said.

We just got home in time to make a peanut butter sandwich with red jelly on it, before the school bus came. After school, Paulette was at the door wanting to take the same walk again, but I was scrubbing the kitchen. She stayed for supper and I walked her home and told her the names of the few stars I knew. The sky fascinated her.

Tomorrow is my sister Annie's 80th birthday. Today Alene had an open house for her. Annie was radiant—simply beautiful. Her pink dress accentuated the pink in her cheeks. She has the face of an angel.

Dennis and Sandy had a baby boy born today (McKay). Ermal and I were guests of the second ward Primary on their sharing time this morning. I told the children the story of the Primary children fasting and praying for Ermal's grandmother when she was blind, and of her sight being restored.

Having our families around us livens up our days. DeMar drops in often to share a hot muffin he has just baked, or a tape of music he especially enjoys, or a picture, or a joke in a magazine. Always he has a little girl or two with him. He plays Paulette's make-believe games with her when she hides under the table.

"Daddy, where am I?" she'll call.

You're in a doll house," he answers.

738738 "Nope."

"You're in a castle."


"You're in the apple tree," etc. Finally, he slides her out by her feet, tickles her stomach, and says, "Come on mischief. We've got to go."

Vaughn comes selling the Grit and stops to visit. Leon comes with a rooster under his arm to discuss his meat-growing project. His 30 little chicks are living in his outdoor fireplace with a light bulb in it.

I listen as Lolene reads her letter to the editor of the Spectrum about rotten movies, and Shirley calls to see how we are, and over the phone Susanna says, "Hello, Grandma." Our families are what really count.

The exhaust from the chain saw melted the leg of Ermal's polyester pants. When he felt his leg burning, he moved the saw. I was sick of that pair of pants anyway.

Dana wonders how she ever deserved a little tyke like Shannon. Today, after she bathed and dressed her, the phone rang before she emptied the baby's tub. Shannon climbed back in, shoes and all.

Scott left his bedroom door open when he went to school, and the bottom drawer of his bureau was left open. Shannon climbed into the drawer and the bureau tipped over on top of her. The fish aquarium, which was on top of the chest of drawers, crashed to the floor, breaking glass everywhere. Shannon screamed. She was pinned under the drawers with the broken aquarium on one arm. Gravel, water, and flopping fish were on the floor. Dana is ready to go on vacation.

Ermal fixed LaPriel's sewing machine, and tonight Jim brought a lemon pie with whipped cream on it with her thanks.

A letter came today from John R. Ward, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Chief, Division of Rheumatolog. This was in response to my letter to the University of Utah about my wonderful release from arthritis ater I had been to Salt Lake for mouth surgery.

He says, "In terms of your response to penicillin after your root canal procedures, I noticce that you were given dexamethasone, a cortisone derivative. … It is my prediction that once the dexamethasone is discontinued that you will have a flare in your arthritis.

"It is clearly demonstrated that cortisone derivatives are effective in controlling the symptoms of many forms of arthritis but are associated with some potential severe side effects if continued in high doses for prolonged periods of time. …"

I appreciate very much his kind letter and the information which is certainly correct. My total freedom from arthritis has already vanished.

I returned Wayne's laundry tonight, and Lapriel will take over again.

Ermal is talking about trading the van for a motor home. I'm simply not interested. I told him I'd much prefer a car that I can drive with comfort. The Rambler is a beast, when it comes to shifting gears, sometimes balking badly when I try to get it into second. The Armstrong steering is pretty bad, when the arm isn't strong. I need power steering. The Rambler has been sun-baked for 18 years and is falling apart.

739739 This morning I put on a pot of chicken backs, necks, wings, gizzards, and hearts. I explained to Ermal that I was going to simmer off some broth, so I could make some exotic onion soup, like Sister moRrill demonstrated in Relief Society. Well, my hearty husband didn't listen to me. When I got home, he ahad dinner on. He had dumped noodles into that pot of bones! It looked quite revolting.

He had also steamed parsnips. His crop this year is the smoothest, whitest, biggest, sweetest parsnips he has ever raised. And we have parsnips three times a day. That's how our menus go. When the green corn is on, we have corn three times a day. When the squash is on, we eat squash three times a day. We eat one thing until its cycles is finished. Ermal grows it, and fixes it, and bursts with joy at the fruits of his labors. And I love, and adore, and endure him.

Lolene, Kendall Paul, and Shauna ate with us. Lolene proof-read 60 pages of my book for me. Today was her top production.

Scott Stratton was ordained a deacon today. Roger came with Corinne to be there for the event, and then he came to "play" with Grandma and Grandpa. He played two tunes on the zither, then opened the Jumpins game and fiddled with it about two minutes. He decided to read story books. It took him five minutes to read the whole shelf of books. Then he at two suckers, and walked in and out of the house twice, and was was all through playing with us. Ermal took him home, because our house was too quiet.

Our Stake Relief Society has introduced "A Better Me in '83" program into each ward. It seems to be in our stake only. Marilyn does not have it, neighter does Lolene. It is a goal setting program, with new goals for every month in the year. All of the ideas are good, and some of them, like saying your prayers, and reading the scriptures, quite necessary. The program is hailed with joy by most of the sisters, and is doing much good.

But I am one of the sisters who must be a trial to my maker. When I read in those goals, the suggested scriptures that I go in depth in each month, that I'm even supposed to write about in my journal, I almost lose my hear from nervous tension. I simply cannot stand anyone else setting goals for me. I feel like I'm tied down, with my mouth pried open, and someone is cramming the whole thing down me. It takes the spontaneous joy out of the gospel.

We're having so much fun reading the Ensign as it appears in our post office box each month, and in reading the scriptures that go along with our New Testament class in Sunday School. We love the free and openness of our discussions.

We are goal setters. In thoughtful medidation at the beginning of the year I wrote down the things that matter most to me, and wrote down the things I want to overcome, and the things I wanted to accomplish, and I knew that would fill the coming year.

When Carol White gave her darling lesson on homemaking last Tuesday, she touched on our goal setting program. She's so pretty, I like to watch her face all the while she talks. And she makes everyone laugh with her cute wit.

740740 In her lesson, she discussed January's No. 2 goal, "I will select one Long Range Goal that will help me be a better Homemaker, and I will write it down. Next, I will list the Short Range Goals that I need to achieve in order to reach that Long Range Goal. Then I will take each Short Range Goal, one at a time, and write down the steps I will take to reach that goal. By achieving my Long Range Goal."

At the dinner table, I discussed our Relief Society class with Ermal. I always make him part of Relief Society. He almost burst with ridiculous goal setting ideas. The spirit of the clown rested heavily upon him, and I scribbled down his thoughts.

"Ok, hon, I want you to give Carol a good report at her next class," he said.

Lolene and Darwin are in Las Vegas tonight, where she is presenting her original music to the entertainer, Lovelace. And while she was away, Barbara Rasmussen's music was introduced on Prime Time Access on KSL TV. Shelly Osterloh introduced Barbara as the lady who hopes to make Nashville. Lolene and Debby Walker were the two who presented Barbara's music. Their singing was very pretty.

It's a wet, wet world. The hills are white. We went to Zion today to see the snow on the ledges and down in the canyon. On our way home we stopped to see Fern and Dew Hirschi. Fern gave us a sack of Jonathan apples.

We saw a blue crane standing in the edge of a pond in Rockville, quite aloof from the ducks and geese. We walked through the willows and brush along the river's edge, and each time the going became rought, Ermal reached out his big firm hand taking hold of mine. I like that.

Hilda is all a twitter. The doctor says she is going to have a baby. Hilda told us she would have a blue-eyed, black-haired girl on September 16. It might even be twins.

Ermal and I, and Dave and Doris Libby were set apart today by Bishop Kerry Gubler to the ward missionaries. Since I get all up tight about these things, Bishop Gubler blessed me that I would relax, and as I relaxed, my mind would unfold, and I would have great joy in this calling.

Today has been a people day. Joy Gubler and Pam Lind came as my visiting teachers. THen Shirley and Susanna came. Shirley is enthused about a tole painting class she is taking. She brought a little board decorated with flowers. Susanna lined all of the dolls up on the couch and ate crackers.

After they left, Venice and Cumon came and we talked of far away places and all sorts of things. A fire danced in the fireplace, which usually is a springboard for discussion. Ermal has this disease that flares up every time someone says the fireplace is pretty. Ermal has this disease that flares up every time someone says fireplace is pretty. He has this strange malady of planning to plug the fireplace with an insert. It would burn less wood. Then he begins to rationalize. The insert would cost so many hundred dollars. Besides that, he'd rather haul wood than to burn it. He guesses he'll not get the insert now. It's easier to turn up the thermostat than to worry about a fire. He likes hauling wood most of all, but he's not hepped up about splitting it, and carrying it in, and cleaning out the ashes. He just wants to cheer up the house with a fire when it rains or the wind blows. 741741 So the insert-disease is under control for the moment. Cumon yawns and guesses they ought to go visit Ruby and Rolly.

J. L. and Fern Crawford came next. They're cousins of mine. They asked me to prepare a skit for Ermal's 50 year class reunion in August. Ideas are brewing in my head.

Rebecca and I went for a walk above the canal, and discussed different art projects for school, then I came home and made cookies. DeMar and the children came for family night. Helen had a bad cold and didn't come.

Ann's birthday. When I went to see her, she had gone to Kelty's in St. Goerge for a job interview.

Our home teacher, DeVar Gubler, had a heart attack and is in a hospital in Price.

As I was walking up the hill, Leon stopped in their little blue pickup and offered me a ride. Riding is no way to be walking, but I couldn't resist my grandson, so I went with him to feed his horses. The baby colt is really growing.

From the field where the horses were, I continued my walk up the hill to Norman's. The rat-a-tat-tat of a snare drum geeted me. Vaughn was in the yard giving the drum a workout. From inside came the blare of the slide trombone. Scott was diligently practicing. He did a couple of songs especially for me.

Laura had just returned from taking Preston for a walk. It was the other way around. Preston was so eager that he took her for a walk. I read and enjoyed letters from our two missionaries, Kathy and Gordon.

On my way home I stopped to say "hi" to LaFell and Cleone Iverson. They made me feel like I was the breath of spring.

LaPriel wanted to show us a pretty place along the river, so we picked up Clinton and the four of us rode past the Hurricane Industrial park down a rocky road to the river. The river drifts around a big bend past jagged red pinnacles. There are indian ruins on the flat.

Marily arrived just in time to go to the Sweetheart's dinner with us. She looked beautiful with her hair in shiny loose curls and her prtty blue dress. She was a sweetheart for sure. Horatio and Genevieve were chosen as the sweethearts of the year.

After the dinner we went into the chapel where Edna led in community singing, while the tables were clearedd away for the dance. She called Marilyn up front to help motivate the singing. Katie Burdett was at the piano. Edna kept alling more key people up front to sing, until we had a lineup of enthusiastic folks in front of us. We couldn't help but sing.

The popular Gifford family furnished the dance music, Gerald, Aleath, Dean, and Jerri.

Ermal cuddled both Marilyn and me on his lap for our sweetheart's picture.

A letter came from the Friend today saying the staff was highly pleased with the last story I sent them. I'm highly pleased when they are.

My three daughters, and Lori, Rick's wife, were here for dinner. 742742 Of course Shauna, Janna, and Kendall were here with Lolene. The children preferred eating hot buttered biscuits outside in the sunshine, to being at the table with us.

Shirley brought her tole painting for Marilyn to see. She has laquered and pianted flowers on teh old coffee pot that she found some time ago, in the sawdust at the sawmill on Kolob.

Lolene is scheduled to do a Joker-Joker birthday act for some movie actor in St. George, so she entertained us with a rehearsal. Her originality is mighty fetching.

Katie won first place in the Hurricane intermediate school, with her entry in the national P.T.A. cultural arts contest. Janna won first place in the junior division in Hurricane in writing.

With our hearts in our throats, we watched DeMar swinging in the pecan tree tops knocking down nuts. Every year I've prayed him through this task.

We went to the rest home in Hurricane to Sunday School this morning. Jim Cornelius called to tell us Lolene and the children were furnishing the program. Kendall stood wide-eyed and silent beside his three sisters as they sang, "Let Us All Press On." Then they sang, "I Am a Child of God." Lolene sang, "How Great Thou Art," and "Red Hills of Utah," (by special request), and the children sang, "As I Have Loved You." Lolene talked in between numbers.

Maxine had the family to her house at 7:30 a.m. for a Valentine breakfast, served on her red glass plates and in her red drinking glasses. She gave each of us a delicate little blown glass valentine.

I made Ermal a lemon pie for a Valentine. I put it under the browner in the microwave oven and burned the middle. I skinned out the dark circle of meringue and cut out daisy petals out of marshmallows to cover the spot and lightly toasted them. Ermal thought it was just beautiful.

Venus is in her brightest phase in the western sky above a crescent moon tonight. Beautiful.

An image of a Vollrath 24 quart stainless steel stock pot
A Vollrath brand 24 quart stainless steel stock pot (Item #78620)
This may or may not be similar to the stainless steel stock pot Alice mentions.
[Editor: Hopefully they'll consider use of this image as fair use or otherwise acceptable use, as it was "acquired" from their web site circa April 2018.]

A neat thing happened. The United Parcel Service left a shiny new, stainless stell 24 quart stock pot at our door. Our children gave us one for Christmas three or four years ago, then a couple of years ago, when we were doing tomato juice, we filled it too full. When we brought the big coil on the stove up on high, a little dribble of the center core of our Vollrath pot melted and ran out. Naturally I felt badly about it. But it took me two years to get around to telling the company, and without a question, they sent me a new pot. This one is supposed to be improved so we won't have the same trouble again.

While Kate and I were in St. George today a wild south wind hit the town. Twisters sent trash in the sky like white birds flying. I tried to drive home, but the wind threatened to below the Rambler off the road. Shingles were being peeled off roof tops, and neon signs were shattered.

Splats of rain plastered red mud on my windshield so I could not see. I pulled off at Washington to clean it off and wait for the storm to pass. The wind blew down a radio tower and all of the towns in SOuthern Utah were out of power for four hours.

743743 The giant whirlwind that ripped through on its destructive way north yesterday seems to be bent on returning. We've had a steady, cold north wind the whole day through.

"This is just what we needed so I could see how good the black taffeta shirt is that you made me," Ermal said. "Not even a whisper of wind gets through it."

He vacuumed the house and cut up the last of the Jonathan apples from Ferns for apple cobbler for supper, then took me out on a date. All his idea.

Riding west into the twilight was peaceful. I relaxed with a contented "Ho hum," looking out at the sunset through one little clear spot on the windshield. I couldn't see out the side windows. They were too wind and rain splattered. I tried not to notice that.

Ermal took me to a funny movie, "The Sting II."

Our Relief Society presidency, LaReta Gates, Joy Gubler, and Elaine Gubler, were released today. Gail Earl, Sheryl Reeves, and Patricia Gubler were sustained.

Carol White gave the homemaking lesson in Relief Society today, and as Ermal requested, I gave my report on my homemaking goals. Ermal said, "It makes me sound kind of silly, but I want you to give it anyway." He is an insprirational bit of nonsense. Here's how it goes:


After Carol's last homemaking lesson, I decided I had better set a goal. When LaVell Turner called this goal setting program the PAT program, meaning Pain, Agony, and Torture program, I thought she hit the nail on the head.

I've been setting homemaking goals for over 50 years, and at times it's been real pain, agony, and torture. But, after listening to Carol, I sat down and thought and thought.

Finally, I came up with a goal, and I wrote it down. At dinner I said, "ermal, will you listen to the homemaking goal that I've set for a better me in '83?"

"Fire away," he said.

"My long range goal is to have a cheerful attitude. My short range goal to help achieve this is to stop feeling guilty because I can't do things like I used to, like getting the bed made before sunup. Anyway, there's something to be said about letting the bed air all day. And, besides that, an unmade bed is more inviting if a person has a notion to snooze."

"Hon," Ermal says, "that's real good, but an idea just popped into my head that I think is even better."

"Oh?" I raised an eyebrow?

"Your long range goal should be to see that your husband is comfortable in every way," he began, "that he is well cared for, and that all of his needs are supplied, and do it with a cheerful countenance so there will be no contention. This could be a lifetime goal. Your short range goal to 744744 help you achieve this could be: No. 1. Pat him on the head when he needs to be comforted. No. 2. Build up his ego. Tell him he is beautiful—an exceptionally nice man—the most choice among all men. No. 3. Never, never nag him about anything."

"Good enough," I said. "I will write that down."

That was a month ago, so now I shall evaluate my progress. This is kind of how it was (almost). I began by patting him on the head and said, "You're a great big, beautiful doll," and he grinned and flexed his muscles. "Ah," I gasped, "you look as strong as an army tank. I just love to see big machinery in action."

"You do?" he asked. "If the wind wasn't blowing, I'd take you to watch a gravel crusher."

"But the wind is blowing," I said sadly. Then brightening, I said, "I'll tell you what. Let's pretend the vacuum cleaner is a big bulldozer. Would you like to operate a big bulldozer?"

"Pretending is fun," he said galloping to the closet after the vacuum.

"I'll watch while you run it," I said. "You're so handsome and strong."

He grinned, spit on his hands, and rubbed them together, then flexed his muscles some more, and turned on the vacuum. He went oer the rugs with such vigor that every little fiber stood straight up. "That was fun."

He sat down and panted while I wiped the sweat from his forehead, and patted him on the top of the head again. "Honey, you're lots more fun to watch than any big equipment," I said, popping a marshmallow in his mouth.

"Honest?" he grinned.

"Honest. I wish every woman in town could see you in action. They'd all envy me."

"Honest?" he said again. "If the windows were clean, maybe they could look in and see me."

"They sure could. And they could see you while you were washing them," I said.

"No fooling!" he exclaimed.

Dust from our potholed, dug-up, sewer roads, layer everything so deep in dirt, that occasionally we have to run outside and rub a spot on the glass for a peek hole so we can see who is going by. But now he grabbed a bucket, the window washer and towels, and you never saw such a polishing as every window in the house got.

He had been so impressed with all of the head patting and ego building that he has been a whirlwind around the house and yards, and with all of that exercise, he is feeling great. He is happy, and when he's happy, I am happy. And I have gained my original goal of having a cheerful attitude.

And sisters, the most effective part of it all is Ermal's No. 3 short range goal to never, never nag. I've learned that bragging sure beats nagging.

745745 As we watched the news on TV this evening, a baby crawled into the room from the kitchen. We couldn't figure out who the little stranger was. I jumped up, and there, hiding by the refrigerator, was Mace and Sheryl. Baby Chance was full of smiles and wiggles and is taking his first steps alone. He's an outgoing, loving little fellow.

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And now comes the final little chick in Winferd's and Alice's brood of seven, Lolene. Lolene has been president of the Young Women in her ward for six months, and has learned to really love and appreciate young people. She is composing music, and is taking piano lessons from Abraham Neighbor. She has been pounding the piano keys ever since she was a little girl, and we think she's very good, but Mr. Neighbor has started her clear back in the second grade. At first he was so strict she didn't even like him. Now she is so excited about the new techniques she is learning that she loves him. He is the "man of the our."

Lolene enjoyed being skinny for all of last year, and now she's enjoying getting it all back. She says she's on a perpetual diet. She adores her family, as will be seen by the following summary which she has given of them.

There's Darwin Gifford, her handsome, jovial husband. He is the production manager for Kelty. They make "top-of-the-line" backpacks and hiking gear. Darwin is in the Stake High Council, and is over the Varsity Scouting program. He plays the drums in the Gifford Orchestra for the senior citizen dances, and brings Lolene stale, foil-wrapped sandwiches home from the dances. (Lolene loves stale sandwiches. She says the flavors are blended and mellow.)

Their first child Aaron is Mr. Computer. He loves computers. He says, "I know the makes and models of computers like some kids know cars." He hates his paper route, but he loves the money it brings in. He has been able to save enough to buy an Atari 400 computer, and is buying the accessories to beef it up. He plays trombone in the school band. He likes math, science, and speech classes, and loves to read science fiction.

Andy is in the seventh grade in the middle school and is on the high honor roll. He's a conscientious student and gets good grades. He loves his sisters, and is good to them. He takes them with hi when he collects for the papers on his route, and stops and buys them ice cream cones. He is kind to all little children, and is a good story teller. He baby sits for the neighbors. He has acquired his Grandpa Gifford's trumpet and plays in the school band. Grandpa's trumpet is a very gifted trumpet. Andy is doing great on it. Both Aaron and Andy pass the sacrament in church.

783783 At the age of ten, Katie has discovered boys and makeup. She enjoys clothes and lots of friends, and wishes she had a horse. She likes to read, and won't let her mom cut her hair for her. The current fad is to wear it long and kinky. Katie can do her own hair, and she goes to school looking cute. She likes sports, especially football and kickball. She wants to be a cheerleader someday, and already knows all the gestures.

Katie is very thoughtful of other people. She and Janna Lynn baked cupcakes in their own little dishes and took them to Dr. Last (their bishop) who is at home with broken ribs. Dr. Last hugged them both. Katie always cleans her room without being reminded. She takes singing and dancing lessons from Polly Stirland.

Janna Lynn is the precocious one. Although she's only eight, she doesn't settle for children's books. She prefers grownup books. She's quiet and reads a lot. School comes too easy for her. While Katie is very vocal about her wants and wishes, like wishing she had a horse, Janna Lynn rarely expresses her wishes. She does want to be an artist. She can make an excellent chocolate cake from scratch—one that is moist and tender. She takes singing lessons from Polly Stirland. The dancing lessons Will come later. Janna Lynn is loving and likes to be cuddled.

Shauna is the hearty one, with a quick and rollicking laugh. She is a very positive person, and excited about the first grade because she is learning to read. She likes pink. She learned to ride a two-wheel bike when she was only four. Every single night she calls, "Mom, will you come and tuck me in?" After she has been tucked in, she might want to get up and get a drink or go to the bathroom, but that's all right, because she has already been tucked. She takes singing lessons from Polly also, and piano lessons from Abraham Neighbor.

Mr. Neighbor said he had a dream about Shauna, that she was a concert pianist. When Lolene took her to him, and he watched those little fingers go over the keys, he said, "She definitely has got it." At first he didn't want to take a child who was only six.

Kendall Paul is the only brown-eyed one in the family. He's a peaceful little chap at three, going on four. He plays quietly by himself for hours every day. Because everyone else is in to music, he has set up his own little program. He sits up to the piano and practices every day—not the ordinary pounding of a child, but he takes finger exercises. He has a very persuasive way of getting what he wants.

His cousin Susanna, whom we called the little cyclone, can lead Kendall around as if she had a ring in his nose. To her, he is like a gentle breeze. They're a real compliment to each other.

Winferd and Alice's seven dearly beloved children have added to our household their eternal companions and thirty-six grandchildren, counting Helen and DeMar's dark eyed senorita, and seven great-grandchildren. And before this account is published, there will be more.

How dear to my heart are these precious children. How happy I am for the bright hope of the eternities.

Dell and Corinne Stout's family - Front: Laron, Melissa, Corrine, Carolee, Dorene - Back: Roger, Keith, Dennis, Ronald, DeNae, Deward, Kelly, Marsha
Dell and Corinne Stout's family
Back: Roger, Keith, Dennis, Ronald, DeNae, Deward, Kelly, Marsha Front: Laron, Melissa, Corrine, Carolee, Dorene

784784 Now these are the arrows in Ermal's quiver. These are the children that were sent to bless his and Isabel's home.

First, comes Corinne. Presently, she is the Primary President in her ward, and sales manager for Bright Music. (Brite.) This music, by Janeen Brady, is joyous music for children to develop enthusiasm for the gospel.

Corinne loves to travel. She says as soon as Melissa is married, if there is any money left, she is going to stay one month every year with each of her children. (DeNae says she'll take her vacation when her mother arrives. Corinne says she'll give DeNae one week, if DeNae will give her three.) Corinne says she is a Jane of all trades. She does a fine job of it, because her talents cover all areas in homemaking and child care.

She is married to Dell Stout, chief executive of Stout Home Center. Dell is a member of the High Council, and has special jurisdiction over the building programs of the stake. Dell is a dynamo. Whatever he undertakes, he does it positively and vigorously, whether it be business, sports, or family projects. He definitely is not a fence sitter, but knows which side to get off on.

Dennis and Sandy and their children, Orion, Bryce, Troy, and McKay.
Dennis and Sandy and their children, Orion, Bryce, Troy, and McKay.

Their No. 1 child is Dennis. He is presently cooking at J.B.'s restaurant in St. George, but hopes to get back to school. He is an Eagle Scout, and filled a mission for the church in Kansas, and presently teaches a Sunday School class.

He is married to Sandy Jones, who teaches the Sunbeams in Primary, and works for Dr. Hamilton, of the Dentist Association. They have four little ones, Orion, Troy, Bryce, and McKay.

No. 2 is DeNae. She is married to Gary Adams, who is track coach, and assistant basketball coach, and history and German teacher at the Roy Junior High. Gary is an Eagle, and has filled a mission for the church, and is presently first counselor in the Young Men's presidency, and is over the Teacher's quorum. DeNae is Primary chorister. They have two little boys, Christopher, and Korry.

No. 3 is Deward. He is married to Stafeen Thom of Aberdeen, Scotland. They were married in the London Temple. Deward is also an Eagle and filled a mission for the church in Minnesota and Wisconsin. He is presently the executive secretary to the Elder's quorum, and works at Stout Home Center. Stafeen takes care of the home, and their little daughter Kimberly.

No. 4 is Keith. He is going to college full time and works at J.B.'s. He filled a mission for the church in Washington D.C. and is an Eagle. Keith belongs to the group of desirable bachelors.

Ronald is the No. 5 child and the No. 4 Eagle. He's a law student at Dixie College and his big interest is restoring old cars and girls. (Oh my!) Two girls especially consume his interest—his wife Myrna (Christensen) and baby girl Elise. He yearns to travel, and loves fried potatoes, spaghetti, watermelon, popular music, and dancing with Myrna. Myrna has a new sewing machine. Her current hobby is sewing. Elise likes to make a noise.

These are the married children of Dell and Corinne. There are still seven children at home. Kelly goes to the East Elementary School in St. George, and rides the bus every day. Marsha is the young lady about the house, and busy in social activities at school. She's efficient, a good cook, and her mother's "right arm." She plays volleyball, and is mascot for Hurricane High. She takes home economics in school, and brought home a sample of her good biscuits. She is a real caring person and is interested in the other person's problems. She is taking piano lessons.

785785 Laron plays football, and has completed his hunter's safety training. He's looking forward to the day he can go hunting. He's a fine cook too, and capable of completing any project that is assigned to him, whether it's helping in the house or doing yard work. He is taking piano lessons.

Dorene is a very quiet little girl, but can be very outgoing too. She is taking both piano and violin lessons, and enjoying it.

Carolee's teachers say she is a delight to work with. She is a very concerned and caring little person, and doing well with her piano lessons.

Roger is in the first grade and learning to read. He's conscientious, and insists that his home work be completed every night, or early in the morning before he goes back to school. He is doing good on the piano. This makes five of the family taking piano lessons, and they are all doing good. Corinne dreams of the day she can take lessons again too.

Melissa is the only little chick left at home when the others are all in school. Her job is to take care of her mother.

Dell and Corinne have a Lamanite daughter, Alberta Maize Smalicanyon. She grew up in their home and went to school with their children, graduating from the Hurricane High. Later, she attended the BYU and married Dennis Smalicanyon and they have a little daughter, Jessica. Alberta has been to summer school at the BYU working on her teacher's certificate, and Dennis works for the power company.

Next in Ermal's family is Maxine. Presently she is employed by Anthony Motors and delivers cars out of St. George to Salt Lake and LasVegas. She runs a fabric shop at the Bargain Barn in Washington. She married Russell Limb, but they were later divorced.

Maxine is preparing to enter a Christmas tree in the Festival of Trees at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake, to make a contribution to the Children's Hospital. Her theme is "A Gift of Love From the Raggedy Family," and will be decorated with dozens of ceramic and cloth Raggedy Andys and Raggedy Anns. This is a family project, with the children helping to paint the dolls.

Her summer recreation has been mostly fishing, and taking a class in photography from Lynn Clark. She is coordinator for the mini classes in Relief Society.

Her children are, first Julie Lewis. Julie is married to Scott Lewis and they have a little boy Michael who captures the hearts of the German people as they ride the busses and go shopping there. Scott is stationed in Germany and will be there for the next two years in the U. S. Army. Julie loves Germany and the people there.

Rusty is at Dixie College studying for a stockbroker management position. He is an Eagle and served in the missionfield in England and Texas. He loves athletics and plays baseball and basketball. He's a music lover and is full of life. He likes to be where the action is. His special interest is Shirley Squire, a student at Dixie and a granddaughter of Loren Squire of LaVerkin.

Randy is employed by his father, working for Hurricane Sand and Gravel. He is married to Shellie Wright, and they have a baby boy Randall. Randy operates heavy equipment, and is a good mechanic. He likes machinery, and enjoys mechanical toys. He has a remote control army tank, and diesel with a trailer on it. He is good at making things with leather, and enjoys fishing. Shellie plans on going to a cosmetology school in St. George, but in the meantime, her love is homemaking and being a mother.

786786 Alice is a sophomore at Hurricane High. She is on the Tigerette drill team and enjoys performing before people, both in athletics, dancing and singing. She enjoys running and jogging and cooking. Her favorite class in school is seminary. She plans on going to college, going out in child psychology, and going to a beauty school.

April is in the fourth grade. Her favorite class is math (and art). She enjoys her piano lessons, and likes to cook and sew. She makes little things that are easy to do, like purses and doll dresses.

Ronnie is the youngster that likes to help around the house.

Helen is Ermal's third daughter, and since she's the one that is mostly responsible for me being my own son's mother-in-law, she is listed with DeMar among my children.

And finally, comes Jim, Ermal's only son—the one to carry on the Stratton name. Frankly, I don't see why a man has to have such a fit about having a son, because daughters nuzzle up to dads and hug and kiss them and bring them much happiness. But a man seems to feel a robust, brawny, stouthearted, macho, vigorous, wonderful pride in having a son. And Jim's it!

Ah, well , I'll grant Ermal this pride. Jim is married to Dana Koenig. Their children are Scott, Staci, and Shannon. When Jim's off duty (He works for Hurricane Sand and Gravel) he always has a child in tow. He is an exceptional father and husband. He's genuine. He does as he feels, without having to live up to anyone. He's generous, always doing for others. He is in the Sunday School superintendency, and is ward membership clerk. He likes strawberry shortcake, and horseback riding is his favorite sport.

Dana is a cub scout den mother,and is enthused about the things they plan to do, like making a flashlight in a medicine bottle, and making a sundial. She is on the town planning commission, and quite concerned about how hard a little town has to hold on to a rural atmosphere. She is a homebound teacher for the Hurricane and LaVerkin schools, and hopes to eventually dedicate her life to teaching. Rearing and teaching children is her prime concern. She enjoys cooking, sewing and tole painting.

Scott is Deacon's quorum president. He is spiritual minded and enjoys church activity. He plays football and baseball.

Staci is a tender, sensitive little girl, wanting to please everyone and to make people happy. She likes school, and loves to sing.

Shannon is the mischevious one. She's the family showoff, the clown. She likes to be laughed at, and will perform for applause, while her sensitive sister's eyes fill with tears if folks laugh at her.

And this rounds out Ermal's posterity, until new arrivals come.

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795795 intellectual powers deteriorate, senility sets in. … The love of life is what keeps us young.

In China, the first question a person asks the other on an official call is: "What is your glorious age?" If he replies apologetically that he is 23 or 28, the other generally comforts him by saying that he still has a glorious future, and that one day he will become old. (End of gleanings from Marie Beynon Ray.)

Each age, from babyhood to the golden years has its special blessings. I actually envied my Mom and Dad when I'd burst in upon them during my career years and find than napping. What a luxury a nap seemed to me.

Now I too can take an afternoon nap. At this time of life I am free from social pressures and from the competition of the career world. I can more easily face facts, which often are quite humorous. It's a time of total frankness and honesty, where there's no reason to try to impress anyone, and I love it. It's a time when I can sit and write a book, that perhaps no one will read, but I had the fun of writing it. And now it is done, I just might be like the penstemons on Rockville hill that are blooming for the second time. Or like the wild strawberry leaves we saw on a road bank on Kolob, backlighted by the setting sun. Frost had given them a rosy brilliance that far exceeded the beauty of spring.

Besides doing missionary work, and temple work, I'm going to play the organ just as long as I like, every day, and then I'm going out and get some good out of the world. We need to go in the van and have supper at the lookoff point above LaVerkin more often, and watch the Virgin River shimmer around the bend. And I need to get my watercolors and art pad out. I think I'd like to make some valentines.

To my sisters and brothers , who grew up with me in our childhood home, and to their companions , and to my sisters and brothers and their companions that I acquired through marriage, your warmth and love has sustained me. You are dear to my heart. To my children and their companions and to their children, my love is boundless.

To Ermal, who has brought so much laughter and goodness , and such bounteous living into our home, I heartily say, "I love You a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck." You have been a gloom-chaser and a joy-maker, and I extend my love to you and your delightful household. Surely, you were heaven sent. We've both been good for each other, and we're both looking forward to meeting our eternal companions, Isabel and Winferd, beyond the veil.

And when we meet those companions, we will have left behind all of our mortal infimities. Just think ! I won't wear glasses, store teeth, or have gray hair or wrinkles ! Dresses will look good on me, because I will be as willowy slim as I was at 20 when Winferd first dated me.

Breathlessly I wonder if Winferd will still love me, because life's experiences since his leaving have surely made personality chances in me. But then, when he sees me, I will be young again, and of course beautiful, because young is beautiful. And my heart will pound at the sight of him the same way it did that night on Sheep Bridge when he sang, "Moonlight on the River Colorado." He will know for certain that my love for him has been the shining thread of gold that has kept my sights forever looking ahead, and he will catch me in his arms and swing me around. I can hear our happy 796796 laughter just thinking about it, because I know that our love has stood the test of time.

And now, I see myself again—that little girl on Kolob, looking at the night sky with my mother. When I asked if the music came from the whirling stars , she explained that I could hear the chirping of crickets and katydids. Now I know these night creatures were singing their adoration to our Creator.

So look to the stars, for the heavens declare the glory of God.